Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Harry Smedley

Harry Smedley :

Harry Smedley : (L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal; Khedive's Sudan Medal with clasp Darfur 1916; Defence Medal 1939-45

(L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal; Khedive's Sudan Medal with clasp Darfur 1916; Defence Medal 1939-45

Harry was born on the 30th September 1883 in Reddish, Stockport. His father was called John and his mother was called Elizabeth. His father worked as a ladies’ mantle and costume maker. In 1901 they were living at 12 Gibsons Road in Heaton Norris. They had two children, Harry and his brother Tom. Harry had the same job as his father and Tom worked as an agent for a stationery printer. By 1911 they had moved to 110 Heaton Moor Road in Heaton Norris. They were a relatively wealthy family and employed a cook and general house servant who lived with them.

Harry’s Army career began in 1906 when he took an officer’s commission in the mounted infantry aged 23. By 1914 he had joined the 1/7th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and had been promoted to Captain.

The 1/7th Battalion was sent overseas and arrived in Khartoum in Sudan in November 1914, before moving to Gallipoli the following year. At some point Harry transferred to a unit in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. He was awarded the Khedive's Sudan Medal with clasp 'Darfur 1916' for his service in the Anglo-Egyptian Darfur Expedition.

He returned to the 1/7th Battalion and completed his active service. The battalion fought in the Gallipoli Campaign, and then moved to France in March 1917. They formed part of the Manchester Brigade of the East Lancashire Division, along with the 1/6th and 1/8th Battalions. Harry was wounded twice during his service but the details are not known.

After the war it appears that Harry returned to his career as a coat and costume manufacturer. He married Elsie Kerfoot in 1927 and they had at least one child, a daughter called Mary who was born on the 22nd November 1927.

In 1939 they were living at ‘Rosehill’ on Wilmslow Road in Wilmslow, Cheshire. It is likely that Harry served with the Home Guard or Civil Defences during the Second World War as he was awarded the Defence Medal. He died on the 4th January 1950 at the age of 66.

Harry’s medals were donated to the museum collections in 2014.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 342 5480
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council